The Photos That Captured 2021

2021 Photo Essay - New Photo 1
Truong L. Nguyen

Here, The Crimson looks back at 2021 in photos, examining the images of a year that, like the previous one, took place in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic.


For the spring 2021 semester, the University expanded the number of students allowed to live on campus. However, many students still resided away from Harvard and instruction remained virtual. On-campus students had to abide by public health policies including regular Covid-19 testing and social distancing.


Businesses in Harvard Square had to take on new public health practices, such as indoor dining restrictions, in order to prevent the spread of Covid. Merchants also had to adapt to having a reduced student population in Cambridge.



Head of the Charles from High Above

Head of the Charles from High Above


In March, activists held a rally in Boston Common against hate crimes that target people of Asian descent, which rose substantially during the pandemic.


During the spring semester, a controversial paper by Harvard Law School professor J. Mark Ramseyer asserting that women forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese military during World War II were voluntary sex workers provoked widespread condemnation. The Korean American Society of Massachusetts held a protest against the claims in front of Harvard’s Johnston Gate on March 6.


In spring 2021, Covid-19 vaccines became widely available in the United States. Students flocked to mass vaccination sites at venues like the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to receive shots.


The beginning of the 2021 fall semester, which all Harvard students were invited back to campus for, saw two convocations — one for the Class of 2025 and one for the Class of 2024, who did not experience a traditional in-person convocation as freshmen the previous year.


Ethan Whang ’21-’22, Carmen Enrique ’21, Trevor Bishai ’21-’22, Herkus Gudavicius ’21-’22, and Rheede Erasmus ’22 posed for a photograph at the entrance to their off-campus housing. The number of students living off-campus more than doubled in the fall semester compared to years prior to the pandemic.


Representative Katherine M. Clark (D-Mass.) spoke at a John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum event moderated by Alexander K. Park '23, left, and Alexis A. Elliot '22, right, in September. The IOP returned to hosting in-person events in the fall semester.


On Nov. 1, the Massachusetts Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit brought against Harvard by Tamara K. Lanier, who claims that the University unlawfully possesses and profits from historic photos depicting her enslaved ancestors.


During the fall semester, student performing arts groups — such as the Harvard Undergraduate Drummers — held in-person performances for the first time in over a year.


The Head of the Charles Regatta, a three-day rowing competition, returned in October after being cancelled the previous year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.


Harvard beat Yale, 34-31, in the 137th rendition of The Game, which was held in New Haven, Conn., in November. The Game was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.


In a historic election in November, Michelle Wu ’07 was chosen by voters as the 54th mayor of Boston. She is the first woman of color to be elected to the position.


Harvard’s graduate student union went on strike for three days in late October, marking the union’s second strike in three years. On Nov. 16, the University reached a tentative agreement with the Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Automobile Workers.